Women entrepreneurship study in Armenia

Women entrepreneurship study in Armenia

Date: 01-12-2019 - 01-08-2020
Status: Completed
Funder: IFC
Impact area: Economy Gender
Women entrepreneurship study in Armenia

About the project

The goal of the project is to help improve the economic outcomes of women entrepreneurs by enhancing business competencies and access to business networks. The project’s approach seeks to build the capacity of women entrepreneurs and intermediaries through the following actions:
· Identifying firm-level constraints encountered by women-owned firms.
· Helping to develop the capacity of women entrepreneurs, including start-ups and SMEs.
· Supporting capacity development of local business intermediaries to deliver support services to women entrepreneurs.
Expected results from the project include increased revenues of women entrepreneurs and SMEs, additional funding for female-led firms, and increased capacity of two intermediaries to deliver women entrepreneurship-support projects.

Gaps in entrepreneurial activity between men and women exist across the globe, yet the need to close this gap is essential to addressing a variety of issues ranging from economic growth to human rights. As indicated by numerous previous studies, women entrepreneurship is an under-exploited source of increased opportunities for employment, wealth creation, innovation, and overall economic development. Support for women entrepreneurship is also a component of poverty reduction as a method to lift women from poverty through increased opportunities to earn their own income.
Armenia faces its own unique challenges in closing the gap in entrepreneurial activity between men and women. To reveal the trends of doing business by women in Armenia, the IFC contracted the Caucasus Research Resource Center-Armenia (CRRC-Armenia) and EV Consulting to conduct a diagnostic study aimed at identifying the barriers faced by women entrepreneurs in Armenia. The study consisted of two phases; phase one qualitative research and phase two quantitative research. The qualitative research primarily consisted of focus groups and interviews with women entrepreneurs and stakeholders in Armenia, and the quantitative research consisted on a nationwide survey of both male and female entrepreneurs to identify challenges to entrepreneurship and differences in these challenges between men and women. This diagnostic study began with a desk study that informed the development of focus group discussion guides and the survey questionnaire. The findings of the study will inform the design of effective support programs for women entrepreneurs in Armenia.

Methodology

PHASE 1: QUALITATIVE FOCUS GROUPS AND INTERVIEWS

The phase 1 qualitative study was conducted by EV Consulting. The study consisted of 12 focus groups and 54 individual interviews with women entrepreneurs nationwide with a total of 133 participants. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 15 women entrepreneurs regarding the impacts of COVID-19. Key informant interviews were also carried out with 27 stakeholders (international donor organizations, CSOs, public agencies, associations, etc.).

The focus group coverage was nationwide including Yerevan and all 10 regions of Armenia. The aforementioned 54 individual interviews replaced previously scheduled 7 FGs that were impossible to conduct due to the COVID-19 crisis. Two of the conducted focus groups were held online using the Zoom internet-based platform. Discussion guides were used during the focus groups and interviews, which covered business details, background, motivation, challenges, societal stereotypes, work-family balance, support and the role of the ecosystem, current business needs, and future plans.

The 15 follow-up in-depth interviews were conducted via phone with women entrepreneurs who participated in focus group discussions. These in-depth interviews also covered Yerevan and all 10 regions of Armenia. The topics of the in-depth interviews included the current status of the businesses amid COVID-19, measures they have taken to mitigate/reduce the impact of the pandemic on operations, available support programs and their effectiveness for businesses, current business needs, and the perceptions of entrepreneurs regarding the current and future effects of the pandemic on the economy of Armenia.

The key informant interviews were conducted with 27 representatives of state institutions, international donor organizations, civil society organizations, and sectoral associations. The interviews focused on learning about the programs that stakeholders have been implementing, their rationale and objectives, their perceptions regarding the state and environment for women entrepreneurship in Armenia, and future plans.

 

PHASE 2: QUANTITATIVE NATIONWIDE SURVEY

The phase two quantitative study was conducted by CRRC-Armenia. It consisted of the development and implementation of a survey of 407 businesses in Armenia both male and female-owned. It should be noted that for the purposes of this survey, a business is considered female-owned and managed if 50% or more is owned by a female and the top manager is also a female]. Otherwise, a business is considered male-owned. Based on this definition, 42.8% of surveyed businesses were female-owned whereas 57.2% were male-owned.

The development of the survey was informed by the findings from the phase one qualitative research and the desk study. Together with the phase one findings, the findings of phase two have been compiled within this report to highlight the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Armenia.

This quantitative study aimed to achieve the following:

  • to provide quantitative measurements of the severity of the constraints identified during the qualitative study
  • to check the extent to which identified constraints are female-specific by comparing the results between male and female respondents.

A questionnaire and a nationally representative sample of 407 female-led and male-led firms was developed. The latter was stratified not only by gender, but also by sector (manufacturing, trade and services), location (capital Yerevan versus the rest of Armenia), and size (micro, small, medium and large). The questionnaire went through a series of reviews and discussion sessions with research team members and representatives of the IFC in order to create the final product. Once the final product was approved, it was translated into Armenian, underwent pilot testing and was adjusted before fieldwork.

The final questionnaire consisted of 44 questions divided into the following major sections:

  • General Information (8 questions),
  • Labor and Human Capital (4 questions),
  • Finance and investments (8 questions)
  • Challenges in Business (2 questions)
  • COVID-19 (6 questions)
  • Gender Attitudes (4 questions)
  • Performance and Expectations (6 questions)
  • Post Interview-Demography (6 questions)

 

The survey fieldwork was implemented by 11 trained interviewers between mid-June and mid-August of 2020 through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). More details about the survey methodology are provided in Annex 1 of this report.